If there are any players who may benefit from the Capitals’ layoff between series of the Stanley Cup playoffs the most, its those looking to come back from injury and get back in the lineup.
Two of those Capitals, Dennis Wideman and Mike Knuble, were both out on the ice at KCI Monday morning in full pads. Knuble stayed out for drills with teammates who took part in the optional workout, while Wideman went to the dressing room right after the practice started. There is no timeline as to when either Wideman (leg hematoma and compartment syndrome) or Knuble (suspected right hand injury) will return, though, Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“None right now,” Boudreau said when asked if he had any expectation to when either would be ready to play again. “It’s just good to see them out there skating in full gear and participating with the team. We haven’t set a timetable yet.”
It was the first time Wideman has practiced in full pads since suffering the injury when he absorbed a knee-to-thigh hit from Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu back on Mar. 29. Knuble, who has missed two games after taking a shot off his right hand in Game 3 against the Rangers, has skated in full pads before and underwent another rather tough conditioning skate.
Both Wideman and Knuble skated for about 45 minutes prior to the other Capitals went out for the ice.
While it’s unclear when either player may return to the lineup, the sight of both Knuble and Wideman making progress offers positive encouragement to the other Capitals.
“I watched Wides skate out there and he looks better than he ever has, and Knoobs is coming along too,” Jason Chimera said. “It’s great for guys like that to get some rest, and who knows; maybe in a week they’ll both be ready to go. It’s nice to see them out there, that’s for sure. Any time you get guys back it’s a boost.”
Mike Green, who did not play a shift after being hit on the left side of his head by a slapshot with 6:11 remaining in the first period of Game 5, did not skate on Monday. The defenseman was on hand at KCI, though, and walked out to the bench, where he talked to a few of his teammates.
“He was OK,” Boudreau said. “He’s got a bump on his head because he got hit in the head with a puck.”
Green missed 26 of the final 28 games of the regular season with two concussions, one suffered from being hit by a puck to the head on Feb. 6 against Pittsburgh and another on Feb. 25 after being hit in the head by New York’s Derek Stepan.
Washington has a full (not optional) practice scheduled for Tuesday, so participation in that session may provide a better idea of various players’ progress.